qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

I have been watching ...

Last week, I finally cleared the stack of unwatched home-recorded DVDs by taking in The Last King of Scotland. With hindsight, I'm quite glad I didn't get round to going to the cinema for it, or buying the DVD; it's not a bad film, but I have to conclude that the next time that film meme goes around, I do have an answer for "actor less likely to make you want to watch a film": James McAvoy. Maybe it's just the couple of things I've seen him in - this and Starter for Ten, but he just seems to get characters that ought to be interesting but turn out to be rather superficial. To cut a long story short, don't be surprised if Bad Things happen when you go playing around with one of the wives of an African dictator. Forest Whitaker was good, though, as the charming, despotic and utterly bonkers Idi Amin.

Later in the week, inspired by the need for something more uplifting but requiring not too much concentration, I dug out Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. I think they both have strengths and weaknesses. The original takes considerabl liberties with cuts to the music: Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony suffers from this (though it's still too long) and also the kitsch pictures ascribed to it (to be fair though, this is Disney) and the excerpt from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which starts off quite well, is rather too long. But the other numbers - Bach/Stokowski's Toccata and Fugue, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Mussorgsky's Night on Bare Mountain - curiously spliced with Schubert's Ave Maria - work well. Fantasia 2000 is only two-thirds the length of the original, but generally has better chosen musical fragments, sticking generally to single movements from larger works. The mashup (there is no other word) of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance marches is musically bizarre, but the other pieces work, and the presentation is more up-to-date and welcoming.
Tags: film
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